Stand in Moscow's Red Square

Stand in Red Square and immerse yourself in the Russian story.

The heart of Moscow - politically, spiritually and literally - is a genuinely breathtaking sight. Symbolic and significant for one of the world's most intriguing powers, when you stand in this vast cobblestone square you will feel Russia's turbulent history all around you.

Red Square: Moscow's Heart and Soul

Moscow Red Square

A slum area cleared at the end of the 15th century, this large public space next to the Kremlin became known as Krasnaya Ploshchad during the 17th century. The word 'krasnaya' originally meant 'beautiful' but came to mean red over the years. Red Square has traditionally been used by Russian leaders for proclamations, public ceremonies, executions and shows of strength. It was also the site of the odd coronation or public address by Russia's long-gone Tsars.

The square is now largely a venue for festivals and entertainment, much like city squares across Europe. Yet towering symbols of Russia's rich history dominate: from the Kremlin and Lenin's Mausoleum to St Basil's Cathedral, the State Historical Museum and the GUM department store, plus monuments like the Kasan Cathedral, Resurrection Gate and Iberian Chapel once destroyed by the Soviet government, now restored to its former glory. Stand in Red Square and immerse yourself in the Russian story.

Moscow Red Square

For those who feel the cold it's probably best to avoid the Russian winter, and plan a trip for the much more sociable months of May or June. Believe it or not, the summer can get pretty hot and uncomfortable in the city.

The best way to enter Red Square is through Resurrection Gate where you can take in the legendary landmarks in all their glory. Beautiful St Basil's Cathedral with its iconic domes, spires, towers, cupolas and arches has gone through many changes since it was completed in 1560, and even survived demolition by Stalin. It's now a museum, which you may want to note is closed on Tuesdays.

If you fancy trying to spot Mr Putin at his official residence or perhaps a Faberge egg or two, book tickets online for the Kremlin museums. This legendary fortified complex was built between the 14th and 17th centuries and contains five palaces and four cathedrals within its ancient walls.

Don't miss a browse of the massive GUM department store reminiscent of London's St Pancras station. Interestingly, it was Europe's largest shopping centre before the Russian Revolution and is once again filled with high-end boutiques and eateries following the Communist years.

Entry to Lenin's Mausoleum is free and the tomb is open every morning except for Mondays and Fridays. There are rarely long queues. The body of the Soviet Union's first leader was embalmed at his death in 1924 and lies in state - if your stomach is up to it, try to end the long-running debate on whether it's really him or actually a wax work.

Red Square in Super Style

Moscow Red Square

To really experience Red Square in Russian style, join the city's fabulous set at BOSCO Cafe in GUM where you can indulge in a drink and snack and some quality people-watching overlooking the square. Reserve a table if you plan to visit at night. An evening stroll around Red Square provides magical illuminated photo opportunities. Some of the best views of the square are found at the 100-year old Hotel National nearby, a five-star luxury hotel - go on, treat yourself!

Add Red Square in Moscow to your bucket list and uncover the beauty and history of the Russian capital.

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Written by Maxine Clarke: a writer, mummy, missus and campervan-lover. Used to travel, now enjoys a good holiday! Follow her on Twitter.

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